University of Oulu

Predisposing genes in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

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Author: Huusko, Pia1
Organizations: 1Oulu University Hospital, Department of Clinical Genetics
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 1999
Publish Date: 1999-08-18
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Auditorium 9 of the University Hospital of Oulu, on September 11th, 1999, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Lauri Aaltonen
Professor Heikki Joensuu


In the present study, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the two major genes predisposing individuals to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, were screened in Finnish and Turkish cancer families. Germline BRCA1 mutations were found in 7% (6/88) and BRCA2 mutations in 6% (5/88) of the Finnish families studied in Oulu. Two distinct BRCA1 (3745delT, 4216nt-2A→G) and three BRCA2 (999delTCAAA, 6503delTT, 9346nt-2A→G) mutations were identified, all of which are recurrently found in Finland. In the 15 Turkish cancer families studied, 5382insC and 5622C→T were detected in BRCA1, and 3414delTCAG in BRCA2. The novel 3414del4 mutation was found in a family with a case of male breast cancer.

In order to determine their ages and origin, 9 recurrent Finnish BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were studied further as regards haplotype conservation. Common origins approximately 18–80 generations (400–1600 years) ago were demonstrated for all studied mutations by partial haplotype sharing. The majority of the mutations showed geographical clustering, supporting the theory of regional founder effects. Four of the nine mutations are unique for Finland, whereas five have also been seen elsewhere. Mutations in the 5′ end of BRCA1 tend to predispose individuals to ovarian cancer and those found in the 3′ end to breast cancer. The age of ovarian cancer onset was significantly lower for BRCA1 (51 years) than for BRCA2 mutation carriers (61 years).

Germline TP53 mutations were sought in the Finnish breast cancer families found to be negative after BRCA1 and BRCA2 screening but who exhibited some phenotypic features of the Li-Fraumeni syndrome. The Asn235Ser was found in a family displaying Li-Fraumeni syndrome phenotype and the Tyr220Cys in a family with a milder Li-Fraumeni-like phenotype. The nature of both mutations as cancer-predisposing alterations was supported by means of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and p53 immunohistochemistry studies.

Regional clustering of BRCA1 and BRCA2 founder mutations enables targeted genetic tests including especially those mutations characteristic of the birthplace of each patient. Additional genes are likely to explain a large proportion of the inherited susceptibility to breast cancer in particular. Germline TP53 mutations are expected to be found in the breast cancer families with other clinical features seen in the Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-5442-2
ISBN Print: 951-42-5345-0
Issue: 541
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 1999. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.